This guide will help you become a responsible consumer of news and show you how to evaluate fake news sources vs. real news sources.

What is "Fake News"

 

Fake news is not news you disagree with. In fact, it is not news at all. It is content generated to drive eyeballs to ads (e.g., clickbait) or to spread false information (extreme bias, rumors, conspiracy theories, junk science, and propaganda, for example).

Spotting Fake News

Watch Out For

Websites created to mimic mainstream news sites:

  • Look for contact information with a verifiable address and affiliation.
  • Look for an About page, often in the header or footer of the home page. Read the About page closely for evidence of partisanship or bias.  If there's no About page and no Contact page, be very skeptical.
  • In staff listings (or on the About page), look critically at the list of executives. Are they real people or stock photos? Open a new tab and look for another profile of the individual (e.g. LinkedIn).
  • If photos look suspicious, do a reverse image search. 
  • Perform an independent search for the news source. Compare and verify URLs.
    Example: http://abcnews.com.co/ (fake site) is not the ABC Network News http://abcnews.go.com, but the logo and the URL are almost identical.

Advertisements designed to look like news stories:

  • Look for labels: a corporate logo. Or a tiny statement indicating Paid Post, Advertisement, or Sponsored by. Or the tiny Ad Choices triangle at the upper right corner of an image.

Satire (for example, The Onion).

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